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License to Sell

Bond's Brand ... Understated Power in Focus

By Tom Wardman
December 17, 2015

The Bond franchise has been marketed in typically understated fashion over the years.

When you start to look at the smooth, super polished material that has surrounded the Bond movies and begin to compare it with some of the more garish, in-your-face efforts of lesser formats and less classy productions there is inevitably only one winner.

Omega WatchesMaybe it is that play on English understatement the Ian Fleming wove into his most famous creation; or perhaps it is simply the celebration of effortless luxury that is the taken for granted backdrop to so many of Bond’s adventures, but Bond films never look like they’re making the same effort to impress as some other franchises we could mention.

The Broccoli family’s Eon Productions retain a tight grip on the merchandising aspect of their multi-billion dollar empire. You don’t see Bond in any old advertising environment. Brand Bond has cachet, it has class and it stands unmistakably as a cut above the crowd.

That is not to say that there have not been any number of different organizations desperate to tie their brands to the Bond mystique. Sensibly, the list of accepted partners has been exclusive in the extreme - Jaguar cars, Omega watches, Gillette razors and Belvedere Vodka are amongst the chosen few.

Belvedere Vodka

But what if…

But if Bond were to go mainstream, you just know that he would still be leaving the competition standing. Imagine a Bond-themed slots game - there are any number of film-themed slots out there - Jurassic Park and Terminator are two conspicuously successful examples.

But for all their sense of jeopardy and the excitement that those films are able to generate, neither can quite match the combined sense of achievable excitement and downright glamour that are instantly called to mind when Bond is mentioned.

The state of sophistication in this small niche of the entertainment industry has now advanced well beyond the simple matter of static images on slot machines spinning wheels. The 32Red online casino’s Jurassic Park is a good example of what is achievable. It boasts animated 3D figures, a roaring soundtrack and a game that fully integrates the story line of the film into the game itself. Slots have come a long way in recent years.

But if you were to take that level of sophistication and combine it with the elements of the Bond films there would surely be no competition with the likes of Jurassic park and or Terminator 2 at roxypalace.com. And this cuts to the heart of what it is that makes Bond himself such an iconic figure and what has made the film franchise so universally successful.

Diamonds Are Foerver Casino Scene
Q and Tiffany Case at the casino in Diamonds are Forever

Risk and red blooded reward

Of course there is the recurrent sense of jeopardy. The prospect of running into those dinosaurs generates the same nervous excitement that is there in any number of villains - everyone has their favorite.

But in the case of Bond there is another layer to the drama as well. As much as there is a stimulation of the nervous senses that the ever present threat of danger brings with it, there is also the seductive glamour at the other end of the emotional register.

Risk and reward are both equally balanced as visceral, red-blooded elements of the Bond experience. What makes the Bond films so captivating is not only the exotic and extraordinary villains he is forced to engage in all-too mortal combat, it is also his equally extraordinary and wholly seductive love interests he

Bond and Vesper in Casino Royale
Bond and Vesper in Casino Royale - mixing mortal combat and love

A 360 degree thrill machine

Bond is - despite the stiff upper lip and that all-too-aristocratic reserve - a 360 degree thrill a minute merchant. Whether you are watching an extraordinary car chase, another nerve jangling torture scene or a late night romantic assignation, Bond has the power to raise your pulse at each and every turn.

Compared with the green scaled, big toothed threat of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or the point and shoot brutality of the Terminator, Bond offers a far more rounded, a more compelling and altogether more irresistible call on our emotions.

To date, Eon have declined to let brand Bond really cut loose. There is no Bond themed slots game out there, just as there is a very limited range of official merchandise. But such is the potency and the power of the Bond formula that is probably just as well. A power like Bond’s necessarily calls for a degree of self-restraint.

Product Placement Spoof
Let's hope that product placement never gets to this level...
image courtesy of Mad Magazine

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